One of the first tips that every professional gambler will tell you is to choose the right game. A game that gives you a better chance of winning, or at least one that suits you best. For example, focus on the theoretical return to player on slots, on the rules of blackjack (number of decks, double after the split, the dealer stands for soft 16, etc.), and in roulette, on its type.
At present, however, it is advisable to find a fair game. Or at least so fair that its programming aligns with the return that is stated in the rules. In the field of gambling, no game is fair in the sense that the expected value is equal to zero. At least most of the games.
American Coin Scandal with Slots
Today, all at least relatively decent casinos are licensed and also offer licensed and thoroughly tested games. However, this was not always the case. Rigorous system testing did not begin to be used until the late 1980s, specifically after the infamous American Coin scandal, which even ended in the assassination of a technician.
American Coin was a company that in the 1980s produced chips for machines with a recorded random number generator, which determined the independent results of game rounds. That enterprising part of the company’s management, however, had an idea, to program the chip the machines did not allow players to win the jackpot and other big prizes.
As a result, however, it did not prove to be a very good idea. The company had to withdraw more than 1,000 slot machines and pay over a million dollars in fines. The whole lawsuit lasted several years and included the assassination of American Coin technician Larry Volk.
After this fiasco, the testing of random number generators in the devices became incredibly stricter, and every machine had to go through an examination.
Problem with Amigotechs in 2011 and 2015
Despite strict testing, software with errors can still be found today. Probably the biggest scandals in recent years have been with the company Amigotechs, which was under public fire in 2011 and 2015 due to unfair online video poker machines.
According to a complaint dealt with by the author of the wizardofodd.com portal, in 2011 the player on the video poker Jack or Better was supposed to play 922 game rounds and not get a single winning combination on the draw during them. If the optimal strategy is used, there is a chance that something like this will happen, approximately 1 in 434 095 228 338 431 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 According to the company, this was a bug in the program.
A similar bug has occurred about four years later when the player failed to form a stronger combination than a three of a kind during the 560 games. A coincidence?
How Game Settings Can Affect a Player
However, unfair algorithms are not the only way for slots developers to get more money from players. Probably the most well-known technique is the so-called “near miss“, ie such combinations of symbols in which one symbol is placed close but not enough to create a payline.
The player then feels that the win has slipped through his fingers and because of that he wants to continue playing. This is one of the very well documented cognitive dissonances associated with gambling.
In the early 90s, there was the American slots producer who exploit the subconscious bias and began to install something called a secondary decision. As some of you may know, the result of each game is generated almost immediately after pressing a button, and spinning the reels is just an effect. Therefore, if the slot machine has generated a winning combination, the reels will set the symbols so that this combination is displayed. However, if the algorithm did not generate any winnings, the program set the reels to show an almost winning combination.
The Nevada Gambling Commission banned this technique almost immediately. And it is still banned till today. At least in Las Vegas Casinos.
How to Find a Good Slot Software
So how do you choose games that are set up fairly? Finding a good casino is a good start. If an online casino is licensed and tested by independent companies (like eCogra), it simply can not offer biased slots.